Final Fantasy XIII-2 Hands On Preview
The direct follow-up to Final Fantasy XIII also made an appearance at the Sony press conference.
We all know that Final Fantasy XIII was more of a linear experience - a trait that many long time fans of the series took issue with. While the game offered amazing graphics and a unique approach to the traditional RPG gameplay, for many it still left something to be desired. It was clear based on the brief demo I played, that XIII-2 would not follow that same linear structure. The world I encountered when I finally got to play the game was much more open, and perhaps contained more possibilities. I can't stress enough how much of an improvement this will be over the previous title if it manages to offer the same gameplay throughout the entire quest.
The demo featured two characters to start, one returning and one new one. Serah, donning a bow and arrow, and newcomer Noel, who carried two swords complete with elaborate flame-like blade designs. A new addition to the adventuring crew is a Moogle, who is visible as you traverse the overworld.
During the demo, the game teased a new feature, the Mog Clock. It wasn't clear how the new system functioned, but feel free to check out a picture below for the details on it. Essentially, the Mog Clock ties into the battling interface but its functionality wasn't made apparent during the battle I was able to play. Only four paradigm shifts were preset and available for the demo: Double Trouble, War and Peace, Slash and Burn, and Life Guard. The battling functioned primarily like it did in the last game, which streamlined your typical RPG experience, but more can be read about that in our review of Final Fantasy XIII.
As you might expect from a Final Fantasy demo, especially one that's for a game that follows up Final Fantasy XIII, it was extremely cinematic. The cutscene shown depicted Noel and Serah questioning whether or not they were in Cocoon, when suddenly a disembodied arm of massive proportions came out of nowhere.
The arm, you come to learn, belongs to Atlas, who is fully revealed when Sanctum comes in the scene. Shortly after, Atlas uncloaks, suffering from the Sanctum's attack. Soon, he does what I can only describe as a fall into a cloudy darkness, brought about by Sanctum. The team realizes the great threat that Atlas poses and pursues a means of defeating him in Bresha Ruins. Moogle in tow, the crew sets off.
Being a fairly brief demo, there's not much else to say, but those who enjoyed the gameplay and setting of XIII are likely to enjoy the same in XIII-2, while those turned off by the linear gameplay may have something to look forward to still, given the more open feel this demo provided.